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Executives

Ed Cunningham - Director of IR and Corporate Communications

Michael Dan - President and CEO

Bob Ritter - VP and CFO

Analysts

Jamie Clement - Sidoti & Company

Steven Fischer - UBS

Clint Fendley - Davenport & Company

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

Steve Berlack – SIG

Richard Rozen - Feltl & Company

Jerome Lande - Millbrook Capital

Gabriel Dorian - Black Rock

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

The Brinks Company Inc. (BCO) Q4 2007 Earnings Call January 31, 2008 11:00 AM ET

Operator

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to The Brinks Company Fourth Quarter results 2007. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host Mr. Ed Cunningham, Director of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications for the Brinks Company. Thank you Mr. Cunningham, you may now begin.

Ed Cunningham

Thank you, [Lithonia]. Good morning, and thanks for joining today's call, which will proceed as follows, CEO Michael Dan will review and comment on financial results, outlook and strategy. Then Bob Ritter, our CFO will make some follow-up comments before we open it up for questions.

An earnings release was issued this morning and is available on our website at brinkscompany.com. If you wish to have it faxed, please call 877-275-7488.

And now for our Safe Harbor statement. This call, including the question-and-answer session, may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results could differ materially from projected or estimated results. Information regarding factors that could cause such differences is available in today's press release and in our SEC filings, which include our most recent Form 10-Q and 10-K documents.

The information discussed on this call is represented as of today only. The Brinks Company sends no obligation or update of any forward-looking statements made during the call. The call is a copyrighted work of The Brinks Company and may not be used by a third-party without permission from the company.

I'll turn it over to Michael Dan.

Michael Dan

Thanks, Ed. Good morning and thank you for joining today's call. I'm very pleased to report that the Brinks Company set new all time highs for both fourth quarter and full year earnings. More importantly, we believe that both of our operating units are positioned to deliver even better results in 2008.

Fourth quarter earnings came in at $54.4 million, or $1.16 per share up 37% from the $39.6 million or $0.85 last year. Total revenue in the quarter rose 18.5% to $880 million. The improvement was primarily to outstanding results from Brinks International operations.

Latin America posted another strong quarter and we are particularly pleased with results in Europe where there is still room for improvements. Our 2008 goal for Brinks Incorporated is to achieve organic revenue growth in the high single-digit percentage range and we have increased our operating margin target from 7.5% to 8% or better.

Looking beyond 2008 to the end of 2010, our goal for Brinks is to sustain a high single-digit revenue growth rate or boosting the annual operating margin to 10%. At Brinks Home Security, the fourth quarter was up slightly, despite a difficult operating environment. Nevertheless, our revenue in subscriber base continues to grow and our 2008 outlook has not changed.

We believe Brinks Home Security has delivered solid growth in the subscriber base, although, we are likely, again be less than 10%. However, we expect revenue in profit growth in 2008 to continue to be at or above the 10% mark.

Our positive 2008 outlook for the Brinks Company takes into account the current uncertainty regarding the US economy, which should be buffered by the global diversity of our operations.

We recognize the domestic economy is slowing and we do not expect housing markets to recover in 2008. However, it's important to remember that about 60% of the Brinks Company's total revenue is generated outside of North America.

Assuming that the current softness in the US does not worsen materially and then spread to Latin America and Europe, we believe that the Brinks Company is well positioned for continued profit growth in 2008 and beyond.

Bob Ritter will provide some additional perspective on our outlook in a few moments. I'll now comment in more detail on each of our two security businesses. I'll start with Brinks Incorporated. The fourth quarter profits were up 40% to about $76 million on a 20% revenue increase.

Profits rose almost $22 million, mostly due to higher revenue and operating improvements, but also because of lower safety and security costs and the benefit of about $5 million from exchange rate differences.

The overall operating margin for the quarter was 10.1%, up from 8.7% in the year ago quarter. Simply said, operating management delivered.

Profits were up in all regions, and we are especially strong in Latin America and Europe, the primary reason for this higher volume and operating improvements. However, lower safety and security costs were another important contributor to these outstanding results.

This is a direct result of actions taken by management and employees, to focus on the most important priorities, keeping our people safe and protecting our customer's assets.

In North America, revenue rose almost 8% to $232 million, while operating profit was up a little over 10% at $19.6 million. The operating margin for the quarter improved slightly to 8.5%, as lower employee benefit cost in the US and higher profits in Canada were more than offset slightly, by slightly lower results in global services and our higher selling in market expenses in the US, which were focused on the cash logistics business model shift.

Our US unit's improved safety performance was impressive. A slowing US economy may temporary delay improvement in our US global services unit. However, we still expect 2008 results in North America to improve as we continue to grow cash logistics, which includes the higher margin services, which is (inaudible) same day credit of accounts, CompuSafe that a variety of other back office accounting and reconciliation to functions.

By outsourcing these functions to Brinks, our customers are realizing significant cost savings. Is our belief that the slower economic environment, our banking and retail customers have even greater incentive to increase efficiencies by accelerating their outsourcing efforts.

Growing our cash logistics business in the US is an important part of our overall growth strategy and we are making tangible progress. In 2007 global revenue from cash logistics grew 16% to $434 million, with North America growing in a similar rate. Accelerating this growth that its double-digit margins that come with it is a top priority.

In our international operations, fourth quarter revenue rose 26% to $525 million reflecting increases in all regions. On a constant currency basis, revenue was up 14%. Operating profit rose more than 50% to about $57 million. Higher profits in Europe and Latin America drove the profit margins for our international operations up to 10.8% versus last year's 8.9%.

The fourth quarter revenue for the European region rose 21% to about $329 million. Adjusting for currency fluctuations, revenue rose about 8%. Operating profit was up substantially, versus the year ago period.

As most of you know, the operating environment in Europe continues to be challenging, there is also an opportunity to retain the momentum. Sustaining this momentum is another top priority. And our confidence in our ability to continue executing as reflected in the improved outlook in 2008, I assure you that we'll continue to be aggressive in our efforts to increase efficiency in those countries where performance remain below par.

In Latin America, revenue increased to $179 million, up 36%, or 27% on a constant currency basis. Operating profit was up significantly over the last year, primarily due to improved performance in Brazil, Colombia and Chile.

In December, our people in Venezuela begin to process of converting to a new currency there. They have been working hard and are doing a great job. This conversion should help boost revenue and profits in the first quarter, as it also contributed to the fourth quarter results in 2007.

Fourth quarter revenue in Asia-Pacific rose to $17.2 million up from $13.8 million or 24% in 2006. Operating profit also improved over last year's results.

In summary, it was an excellent quarter for Brinks Incorporated, and we look forward to continue to grow in 2008. In North America, we should begin to see the benefits of our more focused selling and marketing efforts, especially in cash logistics, leveraging our footprint, our IT capabilities in new product offerings.

We expect the solid performance in Latin America to continue for a more moderate growth rate, and as we always remind you, there's more risk in volatility to be considered there.

In Europe, we'll continue to be proactive and taking additional steps to prove, boost profits and returns. As I mentioned earlier, [earnings in real] B006, 023 downturn or slowdown in the US that spills over to international markets. We are confident that we will achieve our 2008 goal and annual percentage revenue growth in the high single-digits and profit margin of 8% or better.

Now turning to Brinks Home Security, fourth quarter increased almost 12% to a $126 million. Operating profit rose slightly to about $30 million yielding the profit margin of 23.6% down from a very strong 25.7% margin in the year ago quarter, as we tested higher marketing expenditures and continue to score the growth of our commercial alarm business.

These expenditures largely offset our cost control improvements in reduction, in upfront cost related to slower inflation growth. In short, we are balancing current results and investments for future growth and success.

The revenue growth is driven by several factors including an increase about 9% in our customer base and an increase of about 3% in average monitoring rates. The annual disconnect rate for 2007 was 7%, versus the 6.4% in 2006.

Increase in the rate was due primarily to the expiration of monitoring contracts related to the multi-family housing units. Bob Ritter will talk about this in a few minutes.

In 2008, we expect full year disconnect to range between 6.5% and 7%. The monthly recurring revenue rose a healthy 12% to $37.2 million. So, future cash flow continues to grow.

Brinks Home Security ended the quarter with a little over $1.2 million of our valued customers, up almost 9% over a year ago quarter. Installation growth in the quarter was only about 1% due to the ongoing weakness in the housing market. Sustaining longer term subscriber growth at or near double-digit level [ultimately] B007, 0.27 depends on our ability to reverse the downward trend in installation growth.

A recovery in the housing markets would certainly provide a tailwind for our margin efforts. However, like most people, we are assuming that the current weakness in housing will persist through the rest of 2008. Nevertheless, we can still deliver solid growth in the subscriber base, though it will again lead less than 10% in 2008.

Our steady growth into the small commercial accounts continues on course, accounting for about 9% of the quarter's installations. We continue to see expansion into commercial accounts as an attractive growth opportunity. As such, we will continue to support internal growth efforts as we seek potential acquisitions.

Our optimism regarding Brinks Home Security is tempered by the realities of the US housing market and its impact on installations. But we have a powerful brand, highly effective marketing and excellent customer service.

We'll use these strengths to enhance our industry leading performance in residential security, as we build our technical and sales capabilities on the commercial side.

In summary, we believe that our outstanding fourth quarter and full year results clearly demonstrate the earnings potentials of our two businesses. With our very strong balance sheet, and we are [filing] B007, 1.51 the passage to pursue additional growth in our two security businesses, as we seek opportunity to use our brand to penetrate new security related markets.

We are strongly positioned to pursue a variety of opportunities or continue to deliver consistent for substantial growth and earnings and cash flow in 2008 and beyond. As long as we execute and we have a proven record of doing so, I'm confident that market will recognize the earnings and its cash generation potential of the Brinks Company and our shareholders will be rewarded accordingly.

At the same time, shareholders can be assured that we are reviewing, with the help from our advisors, alternative strategies that may further enhance value. During the last two quarterly conference calls, we [brought] it what we believe we means though inside into our review process and some of the factors that underline our approach in considering strategic alternatives.

Since then, on November 28, we announce with the Monitor Group, an international consulting firm was retained to assist in the reevaluation of all strategic alternatives. This review is ongoing and we expect that the Board consider analysis and recommendations from the Monitor Group and our other advisors during the first quarter of 2008.

The alternative is under review one [the gamete] 1.23 from the aggressive pursuit of our current strategy to the existing proposals from shareholders, including additional share repurchases. If our Board determines that any of these options or some combination thereof, is in the best interests of all of our shareholders, we will pursue it at the appropriate time.

In closing, I hope you come away from this call the two very clear messages. One, we are very excited about our current growth prospects, and see substantial value creation opportunities. And two that we adhere to an ongoing rigorous process of considering potential alternatives that may increase shareholder values.

Ultimately, we will pursue those strategies that we believe has served the goal of creating value for all of our shareholders.

As we have demonstrated by actions over the past 10 years, management and the Board will remain committed to continue consideration of alternatives and the company's strategic direction may change in the future.

If a change in strategy occurs, you can be certain that we will make the appropriate disclosures in a timely fashion. More importantly, our shareholders can be certain that any and all decisions, regarding strategy are the result of a vigorous process being followed by well-informed people with objective open minds, and we'll wait, in accordance with our good freight business judgment of the best interest of the corporation and all of its shareholders.

I will now turn it over to Bob Ritter, and afterwards we'll take your questions. Bob?

Bob Ritter

Thank you Michael, and welcome to all of you, who are listening in on this call. As Michael said, the results for the fourth and a full year 2007 were pretty impressive. Then rather than take too much satisfaction from that, we view the results and the momentum behind them to set the bar higher.

At Brinks Incorporated, we topped the strong 2006, with its 7.8% margins by achieving 8.2% for the full year 2007. The fourth quarter's margins of 10.1% were unusually high having been aided by continued strength in Latin America and very good safety and security performance.

You shouldn't expect every quarter to be like this, or expect this quarter to be the base for 2008. However, it’s good to use this as a proof of our goal of increasing margins substantially by $0.20. As you set your sights on 2008, I want to remind you, again, that we manage by the year and not by the quarter. First quarter results typically reflect a lower margin than it has achieved in the proceeding third quarter, but as Michael noted we have a little tailwind here from the currency conversion activities in Venezuela.

As we look at the year 2008, on balance there may be some concern about economic activity for our creditability and the strength of our operating has put us in good position to rapidly grow cash logistics here in the United States. In addition, there is still room to improve performance in parts of Europe. On the other hand, Latin America's growth and performance has been very strong. At some point one would think it should moderate some.

At Brinks Home Security, the quarter just ended, we just read out a very strong quarter a year ago. However, the full years result demonstrates the cost discipline our people have. They took a tough housing market and managed our resources to what was available. The result was a solid improvement in margin and even from cash generation.

I'll point out that the disconnect rate of 7%, it was higher than we become accustomed to. But there were two factors that drove the rate up by about 60 basis points, even though they had no earnings implications. The first was the 2200, or so, technical reconciliation adjustments that we told you about in the second quarter of 2007. And during 2007, we also experienced the cancellation of about 4500 multifamily housing units, as the contracts related to them came to an end.

Since assets and deferrals related to these contracts are completely depreciated or amortized during the contract term, there was nothing left to hit P&L. Because we didn't like the economics of the multifamily line, as well as our other channels, we deemphasized it a couple of years ago. We're not particularly concerned about those disconnects. For your information, there were fewer than 300 multifamily disconnects in 2006. Looking ahead, 2008 will be another year that requires the careful balancing of demand with resources. Something we believe that Brinks Home Security is good at managing.

2007 was also a good year for our legacy liability situation. Investment performance in the pension trust for our primary U.S. Pension Plan and in the Viva trust, although not outstanding, was solid. This combined with an increase in the discount rates used to value the associated liability balances, left us in pretty good shape at year end. We are still reviewing the year end actuarial work and reconciling some figures, but I think we are likely to see sizeable improvements in the funded status of the U.S Pension Plan and the company sponsored retiree medical benefit plan.

This should help lead to another drop in cost former operations in 2008. Such cost totaled about $14 million in 2007 and in last years Form 10-K we had projected 2008 expenses of about $8 million. From the information I've seen today, we should do better than that.

At the corporate expenses, 2007 results reflect just under $50 million in spending. I'm currently expecting a heavier spend in 2008 as a result of higher professional, legal and advisory fees. Keep in mind that much of this extra spending will occur in the first two quarters of the year.

Over the last two years, we've seen some favorable developments on the tax sides. The rate for 2007 was 37.3% while for 2006 it was 38.7%. Basically, we are seeing a more favorable distribution of earnings around the world than we've seen in the past. A higher percentage of earnings are being generated in countries with lower average tax-rates.

In addition, losses in countries where we have established evaluation allowance on tax benefits have declined and in a few cases, changed over earnings. Because of this, I am hopeful that we won't have to use the word 40 anymore when we discuss our effective tax rate. We are starting the year with a forecasted rate in the range of 37% to 39%.

Now for my normal comments on cash flow items. For the full year 2007, Brink spent about $142 million, right about in the middle of our last forecast. I'd like to remind you that this spending is going into branches, trust, IT system and CompuSafe. These investments permit us to keep growing as we been doing to provide the high quality service we are known for and most importantly, to protect our people and to provide the physical foundation for our safety and security performance.

Another key factor in 2007 increase in spending and one which will carry into 2008 and later years, there is a need for IT and CompuSafe expenditures to support the exciting potential we see for cash logistics growth, particularly here in North America. With this being said, we expect the spending in 2008 to range between $155 million and $165 million.

Brinks Home Security spending for the year 2007 hit $178 million, in the lower half of our previously forecast range. Frankly, I would have liked to seen it higher, because that would have meant more subscribers and more future cash flow, but our people have to mange to what is available.

I would point out that the spending on installations went up at a higher rate than the number of installs. This was due partially for mix and partially for the slower pace of installs, which keeps us from spreading unit cost as effectively as we would like to. Looking ahead to 2008, we currently anticipate spending from $185 million to $195 million at Brinks Home Security.

On the depreciation and amortization side, Brinks finished the year with just under $110 million of deprecation and amortization. The outlook for 2008 should run from $125 million to $140 million depending on exchange rates. Brinks Home Security generated about $78 million of depreciation and amortization in 2007. 2008 should be in the $85 to $95 million range. And I remember there was other cash flow information related to Brinks Home Security on page 11 of today's release.

Now, for some comments on the capital structure. We demonstrated once again in 2007 the impressive cash flow generation capabilities of the Brinks Company. You'll notice on page eleven of today's release that we went from a net debt position of $33 million at yearend 2006 to a net cash position of $84 million a month ago.

Although, I'd rather not be over leveraged in today's difficult credit environment, I can assure you that Michael, the rest of the board and management are keenly aware of our current leverage position and cash flow capabilities. As Michael noted earlier, this is a key area of focus in our review of strategic options.

That's all I have for now. Lithonia, we're ready for questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions)

Our first question is from Jeffrey Kessler with Lehman Brothers. Please proceed with your question.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Thank you. Before I begin, I just want to say, Bob, I don't say this very often, maybe five or ten years to departing CFO, but it's been a real pleasure working with you and despite the fact that you have been (inaudible) 14b-0.09 times, fact is you are one of our best CFOs that I have worked with and I do want to thank you for all the help that you have given me as an analyst working with the company for the last few years.

Bob Ritter

Jeff, if I can just cut in a second, I appreciate what you have said, but I am still here and still working the way and I still expect to be answering questions for several months. So I am sure I'll talk to you again.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

I am just standing out. And anyway getting on to the -- for more of a mundane stuff. Can you guys give me some idea of what was it that drove 25.7% margin in DHS last year? That was kind of historically high, made the comp really tough and you won't going to be a little feed that and I just want to have an idea of: what was in the last year that made it so good?

Bob Ritter

Jeff, it's Bob. If you look at last years results the normal ongoing operating margin was pretty similar to what we would normally experience. The key back the last year was the, I guess the curst that comes from a slowing bill and at with the lower installation growth that we had in the fourth quarter last year, we were very good at managing our cost down and as a result the upfront investment cost that we normally would record when for new subscribers was very low in that quarter.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Right. So last years fourth quarter was the first indication of the slowdown and you got the benefit of GAAP effectively, by having lower installs.

Bob Ritter

But actually I think its was the second and third quarter where we start to see slowing, but it was really the first quarter where we had a really big drop in terms of installations where our people as I said before did a great job of managing that.

Michael Dan

Right. Jeff I want to add that we mentioned in my prepared remarks that we've really increased the advertising spent in the fourth quarter trying to jumpstart our installation growth. This year we pulled that margin down a little bit. And don’t forget that we've been gearing up on the commercial side by hiring a substantial sales force, which affected that margin in this quarter.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

I think that you are willing to drop effectively, drop the multifamily business. Replace that with small commercial and mid-sized commercial business. Is there a replacement factor in terms of the margin that we are going to dealing with there?

Michael Dan

The margins tended to be the lowest with the multi-family business, Jeff. And we made a decision actually two years ago to have zero advertising spend into that market, but we continue to service our installed base, our value customers. And what happens is, a large building contracts we will decide to not renew, which is what happened this year which effected our disconnect rates. We might have 12,000, 13,000 disconnects with one account. Once again, these people were paying us our $30 range monthly monitoring we were probably paying somewhere around $6 or $8 per installed unit. So, it's just a business that we have chosen to basically wind down it actually.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Okay. And along with the higher spend in trying to get a new customer in a tough real estate environment, you are also getting lower amount of people moving. One would expect that, maybe your disconnect rate, which has been a little bit higher than normal might come down a little, because of less movers, unless there are enough people dropping out simply, because they are dropping out their home. Is that one of the factors why the disconnect rate isn’t in the 6 to 6.5 area?

Michael Dan

That’s one, Jeff, but that’s also double edge sword, because when somebody does move they are creating opportunity for us to follow that customer and resign the customer, who moves into the house that keeps our disconnect rate low. So it's kind of double edged sword. And I think the up tick in the disconnect rate besides multi-family, the primary drivers that we have already identified, is this there is some financial stress in the, our marketing space in our financial disconnects have shown some increase.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Okay. Moving over to the Brink side firstly, in the currency conversion going on in Venezuela, if you recall, back in the good old days with the Europe, you guys made a bundle in a short period of time. a couple of quarter, but then you had to pay for it for another several quarters in terms of the severance and dealing with getting rid of employees who no longer work.

Have you prepared yourself better this time, particularly since this is the smaller country and you are dealing with your for number one the surge in business, but more importantly what happens after the surge in the use of those workers?

Michael Dan

Alright. First of all Jeff, it's a totally different situation in Europe. Obviously, one labor laws are much, much different. So, it's very easy to bring out additional help, when it was required. And remember, we are basically finished the out following distribution of the new currency, which was done before January first. We are now dealing with the returns of the old currency.

But the labor flexibility available in Venezuela and most of Latin America is substantially different from Europe and so we don't expect to have those difficulties at all.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

CompuSafe growth, it sounds, you have talked more about CompuSafe in this conference call then you have in the last two or three combined. Not that you haven't talked about it before, but it sounds like, you feel comfortable in saying that now you are now, you found enough formula that you are going to spend more money on CompuSafe than you had before and increase the growth rate of something that we have been expecting to be a growth driver for this company for a long timer.

Michael Dan

I would say that's very accurate Jeff, and what's changed is their IT capabilities with our iDeposit and our [iVault] and our new product offerings on the Cash Logistics side is very attractive to the retailers at some of the large regional banks, which has just changed the dynamics our business.

There are people today who don't even subscribe to CIT service, cash and transit services, that are CompuSafe and being able to get same day credit, and paid for CIT, we were not CIT customers before, but that's all been driven by our increased IT capabilities, which has been a big investment spend for us for last three years in United States.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Can you give some idea of how many CompuSafe installations are out there at this point?

Michael Dan

I don't have that figure on the top of my head, but I'm sure, will be in the 10-K.

Bob Ritter

Yeah, we've put in the 10-K.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Okay. Because clearly this is at least a body language changed for you guys relative to what you've been saying before about CompuSafe?

Michael Dan

All driven by our Cash Logistics' capabilities.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Okay. Finally, one question now: is there a due date, an additional due date by which the Monitor Group has to have a report into the board?

Michael Dan

Not an official Jeff, it was happened sometime during the first quarter and once again if there is a change in strategic condition, we will make a full accurate through disclosure as appropriate.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Okay. With that I'll turn it over. Again congratulations obviously on a great quarter. And congratulations, Bob even though you are going to be around for a while.

Bob Titter

Thanks again, I'll send you the check for the “good going words” there.

Operator

Our next question is from Jamie Clement with Sidoti & Company. Please proceed with your question.

Jamie Clement - Sidoti & Company

Michael, Bob, good morning.

Michael Dan

Good morning.

Jamie Clement - Sidoti & Company

Just a quick follow up on Home Security segment. I just wanted to make sure I am interpreting your comments correctly. It certainly seems that the business has been sufficiently battle tested by housing market conditions over the last couple of quarters and you all seem to be happy with the way your employees are managing cost and investment and growth and that sort of thing. Can we sort of look at the third quarter margin in that business as a kind of being the bottom. And there is nothing that you necessarily foresee in 2008 that will cause it rumble what you saw in the second half of '07. Am I interpreting that right?

Bob Ritter

Yes Jamie, if you remember the second and third quarters traditionally have the highest disconnect rates for us because of the moves that take place during that time period. So you will see during the moving months you're going to see a bit of a slump in the – in our margins, but which is also made up in the winter months.

Jamie Clement - Sidoti & Company

Yes. Certainly, I just wanted to clarify because its 2007 your margin from second to third quarter was actually was quite different. So I just wanted to make sure that I was right on end. Follow-up with respect to with respect to the BHS: One of your competitors is starting to offer an additional service video. I don't know how (inaudible) I guess that remains to be seen. Have you looked at additional service offerings to your residential customers?

Michael Dan

Yes, we have Jamie and we have those capabilities as we've built up our commercial capabilities within our existing infrastructure we have added those capability, but we are not targeting that, that tends to be more higher level higher residential homes. From my perspective we sit back and look at market opportunity we think that rather than moving which could be a choice for high-end residential market which would use video, we think moving in the commercial side is much more attractive for us at the current time, because it’s a bigger market.

Jamie Clement - Sidoti & Company

Sure.

Michael Dan

There is more opportunity to play.

Jamie Clement - Sidoti & Company

Sure absolutely.

Michael Dan

We made a choice, but we’re building capabilities which would give us further options to look at the question on a year-by-year basis.

Jamie Clement - Sidoti & Company

Okay, fair enough. Thanks very much for your time.

Michael Dan

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question from [Steven Fischer] with UBS. Please proceed with your question.

Steven Fischer - UBS

Hi good morning and a nice quarter. Just wondering: how sustainable you think the improvement in securities and safety cost is? It sounded like it was some kind of a function of the specific action. You spoke to improve the environment, but or your procedures. So, I wonder: how sustainable do you think that is? Because it sounds it's having pretty big impact.

Michael Dan

It had a good impact in 2007, there is no question about that. If you look over the last three years period it had a solid impact. If you go through the last five year period, if you take out some of the lumps where we had some problems with safety or security. It wasn't that great level of improvement. Now, looking forward it’s very, very difficult to tell on the safety and security side. I feel more confident on the safety side, because the programs that are in place which is basically a US issue, the security side, that's our business that’s controlling risk. I think we do it better than anybody else in business, but we are always at risk for attacks, violent attacks on our people and our facilities, and our job is to prepare the defenses for that. Protect our people and do the best we can, and we've put some good results up this year, because management was focused on that, as they always are. Will that continue next year or not, I don't know, but we have a very rigorous insurance program that can balance out any major downside risks.

Steven Fischer - UBS

Great! Then it sounds like there is kind of a change, finally a better tone on Europe. What happened in the quarter that changes the operating environment there?

Michael Dan

Nothing happen in the quarter, its a couple years of hard work in management in Europe, take the tough decision to execute UK which we did earlier today. I'm starting to see and some solid improvements in Belgium, small improvements in Ireland, Germany is still struggling that the marketplace is starting to recognize that they want experienced international operator there. And we are getting some price release. So, it's blocking and tackling across the continent and management's obviously number one focus for 2007 was Europe. And we are starting to get some attraction and if we have enough -- soon enough but I am pleased that if you sit back and look over year-over-year basis, I am proud that the management effort that occurred in Europe in 2007.

Steven Fischer - UBS

Okay, good. In terms of the cash logistics business: what do you think it might take to the growth that may be double that business in the next year or two? I mean: it's a matter of just finding on a couple of sizable customers? Or: is it really going to reply our major expansion of your customer base?

Bob Ritter

We are investing and it happened in investing in it, we made a huge step investment in 2007 on the sales marketing side. I would tell you, it was a year of learning and training for those individuals and polishing up some of the products to the marketplace. We are very pleased with -- in the pipeline and what happened in the fourth quarter and there is a lot of excitement, especially in the US business as we go into 2008 with the capabilities that we have. There is no question there, couple of steps ahead of the competition and there is a lot of strain, particularly the US market on the competitive side which should all play to our advantage in 2008 and going forward.

Steven Fischer - UBS

And: so you think, you will see kind of the same growth rate in '08 that we've seen in '07 or really get step function?

Michael Dan

I am actually disappointed with the growth rate in the US business overall, but I think that you'll start to see that change, as we go forward and pick up momentum in 2008 because of our Cash Logistics business and capabilities.

Steven Fischer - UBS

Great, lastly here: In terms of the Home Security business the profit growth was only 2% year-over-year, in the fourth quarter, I know, there is a lot of moving parts, but: what do you think it's going to drive that to your 10% target in 2008?

Bob Ritter

The basic locking and tackling that they have been doing, and I never use that term a lot around here, but to bring some security, the people down there are very good at managing their resources, they did test of advertising in the fourth quarter. They learned quite a bit from that, and I think that will be something that they will use in 2008 and going forward as to how much they should spend and how well balanced so that they can come out of that.

We anticipate that they are going to turn in the normal excellent performance that they have in balancing sales opportunities with installation.

Steven Fischer - UBS

Okay. So maybe a little bit less of the advertising spent in getting more “bank to your buck”?

Bob Ritter

I think that's something that they are definitely are focused on.

Steven Fischer - UBS

Okay, great. Thanks a lot.

Bob Ritter

Okay.

Operator

Our next question is from Clint Fendley with Davenport & Company. Please proceed with your question.

Clint Fendley - Davenport & Company

Thank you. Good morning. Obviously, Michael and Bob you have great and outstanding quarter: how should we think about the balance here between this performance it’s ongoing through the cost controls in Europe and positive trends there versus maybe the surge of work that we've seen in Venezuela?

Michael Dan

Well, you've always talked about this is being as Brinks Inc. business being the 7% to 8% margin business, and I think the changing mix of the business as well as cash logistics higher margin business more sticky business, longer-term business has given us the confidence to raise our estimates to 8% plus which we have done during this call and with the performance we've just turned in.

So, I am pretty confident that we are just positioned as best we can in the marketplace some of our products.

The challenges that we face is to continue to deliver on the IT solution side and make sure we continue to add the necessary resource on the cash logistic side to seize those opportunities that are coming down the pipeline.

Clint Fendley - Davenport & Company

Well, most o f the work in Latin America to be done, the one-item work by the end of the first quarter then?

Michael Dan

Yes. In my opinion most of that money should turnaround during the first quarter in Venezuela, but remember that most of the improvement that we experienced in Latin America took place in Brazil, particularly is very, very strong, Argentina and Chile did very, very well.

Clint Fendley - Davenport & Company

Okay. And switching to BHS then, Bob: did I hear you correctly? Do we not have any existing installed base than within the multi-family area currently?

Bob Ritter

No, we still have some additional installed base there, but going forward and I actually looked at what we have coming off this year in terms of contracts and we could possibly have as much as 3,000 units or so disconnecting this year, but some of them will probably continue on. So, we'll have to wait and see.

Clint Fendley - Davenport & Company

Okay. And then, Michael, in the press release we've seen reference to other advisors apart from the Monitor Group: has anyone else been hired since you've hired the Monitor Group to look at the strategy here?

Michael Dan

Just a multiple advisor to be historically used.

Clint Fendley - Davenport & Company

Okay. And then finally, obviously, we hate to see Bob go here. I wondered: if you could update us though on the CFO search? And: how that's progressing in a possible time line?

Michael Dan

Even though Mr. [Chestler] tries to chase him up, but then I won't let him go. I can see there is a rigorous process going on looking for a suitable replacement to Mr. Ritter. On a personal and a professional basis, I'm very disappointed that Bob made his decision, but I support him a 100%. He has been a great partner for 10 years and I'm going to do my best to find somebody who can step right in. And with Bob's guidance get him up to speed as fast as possible and not miss him being here.

Clint Fendley - Davenport & Company

Thanks, Michael and Bob. I appreciate it.

Operator

Our next question is from Beth Lilly with Gabelli. Please proceed with your question.

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

Good morning, Michael and Bob.

Michael Dan

Good morning.

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

I wanted to just explore for a minute the commercial side of the business. You talked about growing that business. Can you just talk a little bit more specifically about what percent of the revenue is the commercial side now? And: what are you seeing out in the marketplace in terms of potential acquisition?

Robert Ritter

Okay. The good news is, we continue to invest heavily into the commercial side which is a whole different line of business for us and those expensive reflected in some of the margin pull-off that you saw here in the fourth quarter and sometimes during the year.

But, at the end of the day we get more cash up front, and with the limited experience we have today, the disconnect rates seems to be in the same range. Those could end up being even a more attractive model. It could end up being more attractive model than our traditional residential business, especially when we continue to apply the discipline on the commercial side that we have historically done on the residential side.

So, I am very bullish. On the acquisition side, we are in the stream it has been the most difficult market for the last two to three years with the private equity people. Obviously, that has been turned upside down on its head in the last three months. And so, our business development team has a pipeline and we are looking at different capabilities to augment that growth platform. But that's a space that we think it’s very attractive to the Brinks Company to grow in future.

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

So, is there: how you are going about finding these acquisitions?

Robert Ritter

Well, we have our balance sheet and we have a way of people finding their way through own door.

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

Okay. The other thing I wanted to just explore a little bit more is. Michael for years, you have talked about Brinks been a 7% operating margin model business. And now, you are sticking in that the gap of thing and okay now are thinking go to 8 and by 2007, we think you can go to 10. Can you just step back and talk about: why? I mean: I understand about the cash logistics side, but just fundamentally: why you think you can drive those margins higher?

Michael Dan

No problem. In the US, there has been a tremendous competitive pressure over the last three or four years. And there has been a lot of consolidation on the competitive side and that one, that one that's benefiting us.

Two, our IT capabilities and the investments we made for last two or three years. And come up with I-Deposit and Virtual Vault process. A new go to market products that are yearly bid to make the business very, very sticky for us.

Three, we've starting to get some positive traction in our European business, which as you know has been real struggle for us. The last couple of years and then fourth our growth in Latin America which was always pretty risky, we always talk about Venezuela and how important Venezuela is.

But we got a much better balance today with Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and these are higher margin areas which we talk about in the past. So, you take that blend in that, a mix of business from around the world and its different characteristics that we talk about through the years.

You add those all together and this is a more positive picture that allows us to quote not stick my neck out, that's your term, not my term. Feel more confident, in doing what we say we do, and continuing forward, and it's appropriate for us now to signal to the street that we think those earnings capabilities now are in the 8% plus range.

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

When you were running this business: did you believe it was capable of 10%?

Michael Dan

Absolutely! All being driven on the cash logistics side of the business, and we were lacking capabilities, and those capabilities we've been working very hard on last couple of years and started to get some traction.

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

And then, my last question has to do with Bob, and Bob best wishes in your retirement.

Bob Ritter

Thank you, Beth.

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

Have heard or search from – Michael: how are you going about replacing him?

Michael Dan

Obviously, we're using outside sources and we are looking inside, at internal candidates, at the same time.

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

Okay. And so: do you have a date that you hope to have a [replacement]?

Michael Dan

He should have better, because I respect Mr. Ritter. I want to make sure this grips move hand off with proper timing and Bob is certainly that, he'll make sure that that happens, and so I'm balancing all that, but getting the right candidate is the most important thing the term I played at the correct time.

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

Okay.

Bob Ritter

Again, I will tell you that Michael immediately ruled out cloning, he wants something a little bit different.

Beth Lilly - Gabelli

Okay. Alright thanks.

Operator

Our next question is from [Steve Berlack] with SIG. Please proceed with your question.

Steve Berlack – SIG

Yes. Just a quick question on capital expenditures: I know that you went through what's involved in some of the Brinks capital expenditures. I'm just wondering, if you could talk about: how much of that roughly $160 million you plan on spending on the Brinks side, you would consider our maintenance capital versus more investment capital spending?

Bob Ritter

In the past, we probably said there was 75%, 25% breakdown, 75% being maintenance and the rest being growth. But I would tell you what the IT in the CompuSafe and the other things that we have been doing because of the strong growth that Brinks had over the last couple of years, we probably shifted it down in to the 60%, 40% range.

Steve Berlack – SIG

Okay that is all I have thank you.

Bob Ritter

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question from [Richard Rozen with Feltl & Company]. Please proceed with the question.

Richard Rozen - Feltl & Company

Yes. Hi, thanks a lot. The most amazing part of the call was the increase in the volumes in the Brinks sink business and historically if someone has been around the company for a while, this is the time in the story as the economy is getting weaker that you start to loose business. So at lease you are [carried] upon people coming in and on the pricing you on projects or where you have currency writedowns in other countries or you'd have unexpected strikes in France, may be it's a rhetorical question, but I just want to make sure that I understand it correctly, I know you don't accept this objectives lightly, but these are issues that you just don't think are going to become a real thorn in your side in the next year or two.

Michael Dan

All those things are possibilities that could occur but once again the breadth and scope of the Brinks Company businesses as its many upsides cover some of the downsides that you talked about. So we feel confident in our statements today.

Richard Rozen - Feltl & Company

Okay, I mean it's absolutely phenomenal. So just if I can just run the math for a second, so for talking about high single-digit revenue growth in the Brinks Inc business and getting 10% operating margins. That's a bump in EPS just from that business alone of about $1.60 by 2010 if my math is right and if you assumed double-digit earnings growth and nothing else in the home security business, that should take you to earnings in excess of $5 a share and I presume that none of the free cash flow gets reinvested in buyback shares or accretive acquisitions or any thing like that. Is that half about right?

Michael Dan

I am struggling here with this calculator thing.

Bob Ritter

Yeah, got it, yes. Yeah, the way you did I just did math the same way you did it, where you basically took our revenue loss and then put a 10% margin in there in 2010. If you back that off of the $223 million we made this year, you are in that ballpark.

Richard Rozen - Feltl & Company

Got it.

Michael Dan

Yeah I think given the 10% margin it will be year end 2010.

Richard Rozen - Feltl & Company

Okay alright.

Michael Dan

Early for 2010.

Richard Rozen - Feltl & Company

Okay that’s helpful as well. Okay. Well, congratulations. That’s great. It's really encouraging.

Michael Dan

Thank you, Rich.

Operator

Our next question is from Jerome Lande with Millbrook Capital. Please proceed with your question.

Jerome Lande - Millbrook Capital

Good morning and congratulations on a fine quarter.

Michael Dan

Thank you, Jerome.

Jerome Lande - Millbrook Capital

So, this has been asked in different ways, but just to clarify. The components of your 10% target for margin on operating basis were in sync, cash logistics clearly. I am wondering: what are the other components? And: how would we order them in terms of magnitude? Are there other territories you are going to get out of? Is it a question of operating leverage? Which I assume is higher in cash logistics than it is in cash and transit. Can you layout that in that framework?

Michael Dan

Jerome, we've always had higher margins in Latin America where we have a more dangerous environment and the customer base appreciates that in our operating expertise. And therefore when we get a higher margin there and that’s business is growing very, very strongly and rapidly year-over-year as we reported publicly.

So, I would say that the key. Enhanced logistics would be the number two, especially in the US business as far as opportunity. And then three would be: improving Europe; when Europe was pulling down the overall international margins.

And then I would say fourth, and so, we are continuing disposition ourselves, finding ways race to get into the rapidly growing Asian market, which has been very difficult for us, and still very small part of our business. But we think we'll come up with some strategies to get in there and further expand our business.

Our global services business continues to grow very rapidly in that part of the world and in the Middle East and [divine] particularly, which is also a higher margin business. So that business mix improves with the higher margin businesses, you are going to have the reflecting margin improvement.

Jerome Lande - Millbrook Capital

So, my assumption and please correct me if I am wrong. The biggest risk in those factors, among those factors would be the situation in Latin America particularly Venezuela. And when I think about the risk in that particular market, the price of oil, which people will remember different, but probably it isn’t going to collapse anytime. Soon the critical circumstance and stability then are the main the prospect of nationalization. And there is one of those you have I think, great insight almighty, rumbling from the government. Do you have any inside to the stability to that's a marketplace?

Michael Dan

I don't think its change it all. Our relationship with the government is excellent. We are considered part of the banking and financial community, which is a key down there, and our partners down are some of the largest banks, the operators you know were 61% owner, I think in Venezuela. And we've just done a magnificent job in this currency distribution in which government has been a very appreciative of us and obviously we are still involved in that process. So that risk is there and risk will not go away, but we are managing through last four years and I can never say: “never”, but I think we are positioned as best and as smartest as we can in their particular customers.

Jerome Lande - Millbrook Capital

Okay. One another things that I thought has been holding back the stock which remains under evaluating with today's performance is the perception in spite of the strong performance you've had of the last eight or so quarters of housing recession in Brinks Home Security in installation and revenue growth, but nonetheless you are exposed to housing meltdown and particularly with the prospect of this summer's resets and potential more foreclosures, I'm wondering if you can explain any insight you have right now in terms of subprime exposure of your customer base. Obviously, we all know that they are higher credit quality customers. Are you able to check credit scores of customers on an ongoing basis beyond simply when they sign up, if that's the case is there any deterioration that you've seen or anything else that you can do to continue to monitor the credit worthiness of the subscriber base?

Michael Dan

Yeah, I think at the current time, if you remember, Brinks Home Security customers come in one at a time then we look at each customer's demographics and credit scores and make a decision at the time of installation and that's not going to change. The subside of that is the subprime mortgage prices which is affecting really the banking industry which has more to do with the Brinks Inc. business, but it has the Brinks Home Security business and I have to think that although I don't want to see my customers go through that pain, that's a positive for us because they're going to look for ways to operate smarter and more efficiently and that's going to increase the opportunities once they look for outsourcing.

Jerome Lande - Millbrook Capital

Okay. Moving to strategic issues for a second, you mentioned earlier when asked about how you run your M&A process that more or less people find you because of your balance sheet, but that seems somehow hard to believe to me, the entire M&A process is not driven by people approaching you, is it or are you out there fielding interest from potential targets, particularly given there is a lot of small accretive deals that could get done, you know, you would have to initiate?

Michael Dan

Joe, we do both. We have all the above coming, our business development department which was basically none existent three or four years ago is fully staffed and I can assure you that since the credit markets changed we're busier than ever looking at adding more resources to it, we have targets that we're interested in, in both areas that are bolt-on of existing businesses and new areas to enter that we are pursuing with the same disciplined approach that we've always had. And obviously, it's a major focus of the review that the Monitor group is doing to make sure that that is as crisp and is focused and is appropriate and will be part of their report to the Board of Directors.

Jerome Lande - Millbrook Capital

And also on strategy, you discussed several times that you are looking at all alternatives but you referenced to buyback specifically twice. And I know that we personally hear at MMI and feel that there are far more dramatic actions that the company should be taking and that, particularly given the performance of the stock since the last buyback when you bought stock above where it is today on an earning adjusted basis, while buybacks can be accretive that is not some and substance of what needs to happen here. Is there a reason that you led with that alternative advice on this call?

Michael Dan

All alternatives and all options are being opened and will be considered by the Board of Directors, nothing is being eliminated.

Jerome Lande - Millbrook Capital

Okay. And lastly, James Barker was appointed Lead Independent Director several months ago, I think it was September. Can you tell me what has he done since he has became Lead Independent Director and his expanded job description, how many non-executive sessions of the Board has he led, how many shareholders has he met with, what corporate governance reforms has he suggested, that kind of stuff?

Michael Dan

We don't publicly comment on what goes on in the Board room or Board deliberations, but I can give you my personnel assurances that Mr. Barker has been very, very active with me directly and with other Board members pursuing his duties as Lead Director and it has not interfered with the process of running this business and has probably enabled me to add more focus to the business and I appreciate him stepping up to that challenge.

Jerome Lande - Millbrook Capital

Yeah, and I understand that and I'm certain it hasn’t interfered with you running the business, but what I’m wondering if, that job as part of it's description has, the responsibility of outreach and representation of shareholders specifically, on an independent basis and I’m wondering: if you can tell us whether that’s being fulfilled and in any other way not listed?

Michael Dan

Well, Jerome, as you know the Board has engaged with a lot of share group and the monitor group, has made inquiries and then responded to shareholders who've reached out and contacted them including yourself, so you know the answer to that question without me having to answer it.

Jerome Lande - Millbrook Capital

Yeah, that’s true, we have that with the monitor group, I was asking about Mr. Barker, but I understand that you want to keep that confidential, so thank you very much and again congratulations on a fine performance in the fourth quarter.

Michael Dan

Thank you, Jerome.

Operator

Our next question is from [Gabriel Dorian with Black Rock]. Please proceed with your question

Gabriel Dorian - Black Rock

Hi, I just want to see if you could help me understand on the Brinks incorporated side, the strong improvements you guys highlight, effectively Europe, Latin America and then the significantly in [lower gain in] Security. Can you kind of ballpark how much, if I look at kind of the -- I think it's roughly $22 million profit year-over-year, I mean: how much kind of from each of those three categories?

Bob Ritter

We don’t break out the individual information about the exact profit by regions, but as we pointed in our earnings release and in Michael’s comments before, the key factor in the quarter and improvement or the first factor is improvement in operations and the higher level of revenues, that was the biggest factor and then taking security, obviously it was also a very good factor for us.

Gabriel Dorian - Black Rock

And then on the Safety and Security side. Can you just help me understand, I guess more specifically: what exactly that means? And: what costs have been reduced? I'm trying to get a sense of: how much of that is a kind of a variable based upon management's judgment versus other things that may influence it?

Bob Ritter

I can tell you that none of it is based on judgment. It is all related to losses and risks and insurance that we have and basically it all stays within the year. So this is not something where we sit down and try to guess what the liabilities should be or what an asset should be because it's all just basically, it just runs through.

Gabriel Dorian - Black Rock

Okay. So, is for whatever reasons 2008 saw a more difficult year on the security side: is that, does necessarily kind of an ongoing benefit?

Bob Ritter

Right.

Gabriel Dorian - Black Rock

Thank you very much.

Bob Ritter

Alright.

Operator

Our last question is from Jeffrey Kessler with Lehman Brothers. Please proceed with your question.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Thank you. As a last follow on question to the whole Cash Logistics and margin improvement area in Brinks. Traditionally there has been a much, much lower level of use of Cash Logistics, at least outsourcing of Cash Logistics and particularly the type that you are developing over in Europe. I guess your were talking about over 50% of your revenues in the United States being from Cash Logistics whereas in Europe it may be whatever, 20%, 25% or may be even less.

What do you have to do to get the banks over there, realizing that right now you are dealing with cost and pricing issues, but nevertheless the potential for getting your margin even higher and partially rest on dramatically improving the cash logistics use over Europe: what you have to do get them to get from whatever 20%, 15% on up to the level that the US is using?

Michael Dan

Just to clarify that my comments, prepared comments before I talked about the 400 some odd $60 million of cash logistics that was the global number. It was not a US number

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Right

Michael Dan

Got it. And it’s growth rate last year worldwide was 16% both globally and in the US alright. The US is way behind some countries in outsourcing. As an example in France its all outsourced already. In Venezuela its all outsourced already. In Germany its hardly any of it outsourced, so it’s a country-by-country specific where that banking systems is evolved over a 20 year period time. So the biggest growth opportunities for logistics will probably be the US business both on the banking and retail side followed by Germany and then our increasing IT capabilities to entice more people to outsource.

So that will be tempered in some countries, in which there has bee some bad experience with outsourcing with some of our competitors, but overall our capabilities, our IT systems and the margin, and the stickiness of that business when its outsourced makes it a very attractive area for us to pursue.

Jeffrey Kessler - Lehman Brothers

Okay thank you very much.

Michael Dan

There are no further questions in queue at this time. I'd like to turn the floor back over to Mr. Cunningham for closing comment.

Ed Cunningham

Okay. Thanks again for joining the call and look forward to talking to you next quarter.

Operator

Ladies and gentleman this does concludes today's teleconference, you may disconnect your line at this time. Thank you for your participation.

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Source: The Brinks Company Inc. Q4 2007 Earnings Call Transcript
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